Eight rebels gunned down in Manipur

October 24th, 2008 - 12:51 am ICT by IANS  

Imphal, Oct 23 (IANS) At least eight militants were killed in three separate gun battles with the security forces in Manipur Thursday, officials said. A joint team of state commandos and paramilitary Assam Rifles killed five militants suspected to be from the outlawed Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) in an encounter near village Heiheahe, about nine km off Manipur’s capital Imphal.

“Based on specific inputs we zeroed in on the KCP militants. There was a firefight in which five rebels were gunned down,” a senior police official said requesting not to be named.

Security forces later recovered an M-16 rifle, a carbine, and a pistol from the dead militants. In separate encounters, two more militants were killed close to Imphal Thursday night. The identities of the two militants killed in Gouranagar and Maharavi were not immediately known, the official said.

Weapons and grenades were recovered from the two dead rebels.

The KCP is a rebel group fighting for an independent homeland for the majority Metei community in Manipur, a state of 2.4 million people, bordering Myanmar. The KCP claimed responsibility for a powerful explosion in Imphal Tuesday that killed 17 people and wounded 30 more.

There are more than 19 militant groups active in Manipur, bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.

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